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Favorite Jay-Z Album – Readers Poll

Jay-Z
Daniel Boczarski, Getty Images

In celebration of Jay-Z, who turns 43 today (Dec. 4, 2012), and his illustrious career as one of the raps greats of the 21st century, we’re taking votes for the best Jay-Z album. Most of them are solo albums, some are collaborative LPs, but no matter how different they sound, they’re all representative of how Hova has morphed throughout the years.

In 1996, Jay-Z dropped ‘Reasonable Doubt,’ which peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard 200 — not bad at all for his debut album! Since then, the LP has gone down as one of the best rap albums of all-time, thanks to tracks like ‘Dead President’ and ‘Can’t Knock the Hustle.’

Following the success of ‘Reasonable Doubt,’ Jay-Z completely submerged himself in music, releasing a new album every year all the way up until 2003. For HOV, 1997 saw the release of ‘In My Lifetime Vol. 1,’ and singles like ‘(Always Be My) Sunshine,’ while 1998 brought about ‘Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life,’ an LP packed with hits like ‘Can I Get A…’ and ‘Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).’ In 1999, Mr. Carter kept the hits coming with the third installment of his ‘Volumes’ trilogy, ‘Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter.’ Working with producers like Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, Jay churned out tracks like ‘Big Pimpin’ and ‘Jigga My N—-.’

Once the ’00s rolled around, Jazzy had already been established as a rhyming force to be reckoned with, and he kept the ball rolling when it came to new releases. On Halloween in the year 2000, Jay presented the world with ‘The Dynasty: Roc La Familia,’ containing one of his biggest mainstream hits ‘I Just Wanna Love U,’ a collaborative effort with the Neptunes. Less than a year later, the Brooklyn native dropped ‘The Blueprint’ on 9/11/2001, and despite the notorious release date, it quickly became regarded as one of Hov’s best albums, with singles like ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A.,’ ‘Jigga That N—-,’ and ‘Girls, Girls, Girls.’

Since ‘The Blueprint’ in 2000, Jay-Z has kept extremely busy in the studio. Next up was 2002′s ‘The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse,’ while ‘The Black Album’ impacted in 2003, becoming another massive success for Hova with hits like ’99 Problems’ and ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder.’ Later, Jay would drop 2006′s ‘Kindgom Come,’ 2007′s ‘American Gangster,’ and finally, ‘The Blueprint 3′ in 2009, which saw singles like ‘Empire State of Mind’ and ‘Run This Town’ hit the top of the charts.

But these solo albums aren’t the only musical pieces with Jay-Z’s name attached. In 2002, he worked with R. Kelly to bring the soul on their collaborative album ‘The Best of Both Worlds,’ and the duo teamed up again in 2004 for ‘Unfinished Business.’ And although it’s really classified as an EP, we can’t skip over ‘Collision Course,’ which saw the fusion of rap and rock thanks to Jay’s work with Linkin Park. Finally, there’s ‘Watch the Throne,’ Jigga’s collaborative LP with Kanye West and one of the most praised albums of 2011.

Out of all of the albums he’s released over the years, which Jay-Z album (or EP) is your favorite? Vote below and leave Hova some birthday love in the comments!

Next: See the Top Hip-Hop Songs of 2012

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